Youth Encounter Jesus at ARISE Milwaukee WCYR ‘I AM’ 2023

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

March 24, 2023

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity encountered Jesus in the eyes of many youth and those who support them at Arise Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Catholic Youth Rally 2023 at Carroll University Shattuck Auditorium. Sister Carol Seidl and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan witnessed the Gospel being proclaimed at the Catholic School Edition “I AM’ on Friday, March 17. Postulant Michelle Ozuna, Sister Theresa Feldkamp and Sister Julie Ann were equally aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the community gathered at the High School and Middle School Edition “I AM” on Saturday, March 18. Mackenzie Nguyen, Ministry Coordinator of Arise Milwaukee, took a ‘spirited’ leadership role, along with Steve Angrisano, The Scally Brothers, Fr. Matthew Widder, pastor of Catholic Community of Waukesha, Fr. Tim Schumaker, Co-Spiritual Director with Fr. Alex Rodriquez of Arise Milwaukee and other priests serving as confessors for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. (Photos: Arise Milwaukee)

Michelle reflects on this powerful and prayerful experience.

“I had the privilege of attending the 2023 Wisconsin Catholic Youth Rally, hosted by ARISE Milwaukee.  The theme for the rally was, “I AM”! The theme fits perfectly to the questions the middle and highschoolers in attendance face at this stage of their life.  After reflecting on who God is and how the world can define God and themselves falsely, a really poignant moment was when they heard and proclaimed aloud together, who God is, and how he defines them first and foremost as his beloved children. This sentiment was echoed by the speakers throughout the event. Another touching moment was when the alumni team of youth, “The Sparks” courageously ascended the stage throughout the event to give testimony of their own “I AM” story before and after they fully embraced their faith. I think it is powerful for the youth see the faith reflected in their peers.

Mostly all the youth took advantage of the chance for Reconciliation. There were 9-11 priests throughout the day, ready to hear their confessions.  All this culminated to time in Adoration of Christ present in the Eucharist. Fr. Tim Schumaker processed from aisle to aisle with the monstrance and gave all those in attendance an opportunity to feel the love of Christ gazing at them through the Eucharist.  I was very moved, and it is always special to participate in Eucharistic Adoration in this way, especially with a backdrop of incense and worship music.

The youth rally ended with the Sunday vigil mass celebrated by Bishop Donald Hying, where he gave a beautiful and empowering homily addressed towards the youth.  At the completion of mass Fr. Tim Schumaker reflected on our attendance for the entirety of the event and the role Religious Sisters played on his own vocation story.  He asked all those remotely considering a vocation to Religious life or as a Priest to ascend to the front row for a special blessing by Bishop Hying.  It was very inspiring to see over 20 youth courageously make their way to the front of the auditorium to stand boldly in their faith as they witnessed to their peers just who they are!  It was very moving to see so many youth leaders, ARISE volunteers, clergy, Religious, Musicians, and Speakers making an investment in the youth through their time, talents and treasure and to witness that expressed back as joy and enthusiasm in the youth made the day fruitful.  I am sure the day will continue to bear fruit among the youth that were in attendance.”

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